The Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA)

The Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA)

The Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) is the trade association for the anaerobic digestion (AD) industry in the UK and companies and organisations working on novel technologies and processes that compliment the anaerobic digestion process and products. With our members we promote the economic and environmental benefits of AD in the UK. We represent organisations from many sectors including: AD operators, AD developers, AD equipment providers, water companies, farmers, food & drink retailers, waste companies, universities and more.

Company details

Room 312, Canterbury Court, Kennington Park Business Centre, 1-3 Brixton Road , London , SW9 6DE United Kingdom

Locations Served


Business Type:
Professional association
Industry Type:
Energy - Bioenergy
Market Focus:
Internationally (various countries)
Year Founded:

Anaerobic digestion is the simple, natural breakdown of organic matter into carbon dioxide, methane and water, by two groups of microorganisms, bacteria and archaea. Since many of these are intolerant to oxygen, this process is known as anaerobic.

What are the main stages of the process?

There are four:
Each stage breaks the matter into smaller and smaller parts, until the only remaining substances are methane, carbon dioxide and water, three very simple molecules.

breaks down the complex organic matter – carbohydrates, fats and proteins – into simple sugars, fatty acids and amino acids. Carbohydrates, long chains of simple sugars, are broken down into single glucose molecules; proteins, long folded chains of amino acids, become individual amino acids; while fats, made up of head groups and fatty acid chains, have the latter part removed from the head groups and cut into smaller and smaller pieces.

sees those single sugar molecules, fatty acids and amino acids broken down further into alcohols and volatile fatty acids (like ethanol and propionic acid), with by-products of carbon dioxide, ammonia and hydrogen sulphide.

is the third stage: here, those volatile fatty acids and alcohols are converted again, this time into hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and acetic acid.

where methanogenic archaea convert the remaining hydrogen and acetic acid into methane, and more carbon dioxide.

What can we do with the final products?
At the end of the process we have a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide gases (biogas), water and some organic material (digestate).

Biogas can be burned to produce both heat and electricity, while methane can be used as vehicle fuel or injected into the gas grid.

Digestate is a stable, nutrient-rich substance and can be used for a range of products and purposes: most usefully as a fertiliser, rich in nutrients, but also as feedstock for ethanol production, and in low-grade building materials, like fibreboard.

Water, after treatment within the AD process, may be returned to the watercourses.

The Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) was established in September 2009 in order to represent the anaerobic digestion (AD) and bioresources industry. ADBA was set up by Lord Rupert Redesdale (former Liberal Democrat Energy Spokesperson) and ten founder members to help to remove the barriers faced by the whole industry and to support its members in growing their organisations in order to reach the full potential of this diverse industry. To read more about ADBA’s founder members, please clickhere.

On  1 October 2014 ADBA widened its remit to include emerging technologies and products from the bioeconomy, to reflect this we changed the Association’s name from 'The Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association' to 'The Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association'.

Through lobbying activities, working group meetings, high profile industry events, educational material and more, ADBA aims to facilitate the industry’s growth, helping the UK to meet its renewable energy targets and pave the way for a carbon-free future.

ADBA was established in 2009 as a not-for-profit organisation representing businesses in the anaerobic digestion sector, to help remove the barriers to growth currently faced by the industry and to promote the benefits of AD to the UK. We want to realise the potential of the AD industry, and allow this sector to deliver energy security and economic growth – in waste management, farming, transport and food processing, among others – while also combating climate change.

What we do
ADBA wants to ensure we can deliver all the benefits of AD. We work with industry, government, NGOs, media, professional bodies, the public, and our members to promote and develop AD, and to tackle AD issues across the UK. We particularly draw on the expertise of our members to allow us to deal with the latest issues, and anticipate and act on any potential problems or opportunities, before feeding directly into the policy-making process.

Our key areas where we work to support and grow AD include:

Demonstrating AD’s value
ADBA acts as a resource centre for all information relevant to the industry, ensuring politicians, the public and other key stakeholders understand and recognise the benefits AD can deliver.

Lobbying government
ADBA works hard to shape government policy through working groups regularly attended by government agencies, such as the Environmental Agency, WRAP and the Health and Safety Executive, by highlighting issues, feeding into consultation responses, and helping to develop the industry through dialogue with government.

Building the marketplace
ADBA brings together the AD community, joining the key stakeholders in one association so they can trade, discuss and analyse the latest developments, and develop the practical tools to enable the industry to grow. We run trade shows, conferences and research and development forums, and offer vital industry tools, including AD Guides and Best Practice documents, with our unique experience and authority.